It seems entirely fitting that in the basement of the building of Regent Sound Studios in Denmark Street, where the Rolling Stones recorded their first album, The Good The Bad should perform their own brand of retro ’60s-style music.
A Danish instrumental trio may not sound the sexiest proposition, but The Good The Bad sure know how to rock. And while the title of their debut album From 001 To 017 is a blandly mathematical description of its 17 numbered tracks, there is nothing tame about the explosive noise they make.
The band’s stripped-down, back-to-basics approach, with twangy guitars and driving rhythms, sometimes evokes the likes of The Shadows, The Ventures, surf-rock pioneer Dick Dale, and even the Ennio Morricone-scored spaghetti western The Good, The Bad And The Ugly, from which they presumably take their name. But the young guys from Copenhagen give the music a harder-edged, more psyched up, contemporary sound.
As a live act, they put on a dynamic show. Lead guitarist Adam Olsson and ex-Raveonettes Manoj Ramdas on baritone guitar like to move around a lot on stage with their distinctively ‘top-heavy’ two-pronged attack, while powerhouse drummer Johan Lei Gellett takes his shirt off after the second track as gets down to the sweaty business of propelling this juggernaut from his driving seat.
When Ramdas’s guitar malfunctions, the other two keep going to the end of the track unfazed while he gets hold of a new one, with no loss of momentum. Olsson asks the audience if the sound is OK: “Can you hear the lyrics?” he quips. Later he cuts a swathe through the crowd with his guitar lead attaching him to his amplifier like an umbilical cord, and hands people at the front a gizmo to help produce feedback.
Their tight 45-minute set features almost all of the tracks from the new album, none outstaying their welcome in their two-and-a-half-minute duration. With their similar instrumental style it’s difficult to distinguish one from another but 001 impresses with the potency of its sexual swagger and the single 005 possesses a menacing urgency, while 006 comes across strongly as a modern-day Miserlou. Within the limitations of the format they have chosen, the band channel all their energy in compelling style.
The music The Good The Bad create would make the coolest of soundtracks. It’s a pity they didn’t take the opportunity with track 007 of doing their own version of the surf-rock influenced James Bond signature theme by John Barry – now that would surely be well worth hearing.